As with many nations seeking significant tourism income, Australian tourism marketing encourages imaginaries steeped in nostalgic romanticism. Australia is presented to international audiences as a place of grand landscape, filled with unique bounding animals and peopled by simple, happy-go-lucky, pre-modern folk. Defying the realities of a highly urbanized, post-industrial society, this paradisiacal imagery has proven to be highly successful. Reporting the first stage of research evaluating responses of study abroad students to a course in Australian Studies, the findings demonstrate strong correspondence between the imagery of Australia circulated by tourism marketers and the imaginaries inscribed into these student tourists. Travel can disrupt such circles of representation; indeed, the rationale behind student-tourism presents a productive moral imperative to do so. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.